Wednesday February 20 1:19 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

"Noises Off" at Windy City Playhouse will keep You Laughing!

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**** Recommended **** Windy City Playhouse’s production of “Noises Off” is getting big laughs. That’s because it’s a very funny play within a play in which a cast of second rate British actors is rehearsing/performing “Nothing On,” a lame comedy featuring mistaken identities, slamming doors, pratfalls, a pretty girl in her underwear and sardines. Playing comedy, particularly farce, requires split second timing – and the ability to take a fall – and this cast is brilliant. I laughed til my cheeks hurt! 4 BIG Spotlights

"Evil Dead: The Musical - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** As the first winter storm with measurable snowfall blew into Chicago one evening last week, the audience at the Pride Arts Center eagerly settled in for the Chicago storefront premiere of Black Button Eyes Productions riotously entertaining and completely hilarious production of "Evil Dead: The Musical." While there were plenty of liquids flying through the air on stage, they were neither white in color nor crystallized like the flakes swirling outdoors. This clever parody, a mash-up of sorts of all of the Sam Raimi classic films that inspired it, has an uproariously funny book by George Reinblatt, who also wrote the wacky lyrics. The lively score was composed by Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla, Melissa Morris and Reinblatt. This would make a great date night for you and your bloody Valentine. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

"Dada Woof Papa Hot" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** There was a time, during the middle to late 1990's, when most of the gay men living in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood became dog owners. The logic behind this was to facilitate their chances of finding a boyfriend while taking the little pup for a walk, allowing the animal to become the catalyst for starting a conversation with a cute young guy who just wanted to pet the dog or else meeting other men who just happen to be taking their own dog for a stroll around the neighborhood. It was a great way to meet someone. Now it seems that having a child, whether through adoption or surrogacy, may have replaced dogs as a means for gay men to hook-up with one another. At least that's one of a myriad of scenarios presented in Peter Parnell's inanely titled play "Dada Woof Papa Hot" at About Face Theatre. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

“Ajijaak on Turtle Island” opened the 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

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Highly Recommended **** The 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival kicked off with an appearance by Festival Founder and Artistic Director Blair Thomas, followed by a performance of “Ajijaak on Turtle Island”. By show time, there weren’t any empty seats in the beautiful Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, the festival’s home. We saw an awesome show incorporating Native American tradition, costumes, music and dance, along with Heather Henson’s (daughter of Jim Henson) graceful, expressive puppets. 4 Spotlights

"St. Nicholas" - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Recommended **** I must confess that I’ve had problems writing a review of the Donmar Warehouse Production of “St. Nicholas” because I ended up with such mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I thought that Brendan Coyle’s performance as a drunken Dublin theater critic was ‘not-to-be-missed’ amazing. On the other hand, since Conor McPherson’s entire play consisted of that critic’s drunken ramblings, I didn’t just see the point. 3 Spotlights

"I Know My Own Heart" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** It takes a great deal of strength to defy society's expectations of what it means to be a woman. This is wonderfully displayed by the four strong women found in Emma Donoghue's "I Know My Own Heart." Written in the mid-1990's by the Irish-Canadian author, the work is receiving its U.S. premiere in care of Pride Films and Plays. Donoghue, who is probably most well-known for writing the novel "Room" and also adapting it for the screenplay of the movie that was released in 2015 (which nabbed her an Academy Award nomination) stumbled upon the heavily coded diaries of Brit Anne Lister while a graduate student and felt that they would make a compelling drama for the stage. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Young Playwrights Festival - the Future of Chicago Theater

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*** Recommended *** After a couple of weeks off, I always look forward to Pegasus Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival which is almost always the first theatrical opening of the year. This is a chance to see the future of Chicago theater – maybe the future of American theater. If you go, you’ll see three very different plays written by three young women who happen to be all high school students so you also get some insight into the things on kids’ minds. 3 Spotlights

"Between Riverside and Crazy" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended **** Redtwist Theatre is one of my favorite storefront theaters. Located on Bryn Mawr, just one block East of the Red Line “L” stop, this tiny theater has been bringing us solid theater since 2003, and I for one appreciate the work they do. They are currently producing “Between Riverside and Crazy” written by Stephen Adly Guirgis,, who many will recall as the playwright of ” Jesus Hopped The A Train”. If you liked that one, you are sure to get into this as well.